ELK GROVE, Ill. - On Friday night, a busload carrying approximately 90 migrants who entered the United States at the Texas border arrived in Elk Grove Village, according Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson.
The village was informed by state of Illinois officials at 1:30 p.m. Friday that a migrant bus from Texas would be en route to Elk Grove Village.
According to a press release from Mayor Johnson, this news that the migrants would be coming to Elk Grove Village came with no prior notification that the state’s plan for welcoming migrants included sending them to hotels in suburban communities.
The news also came with no direction from state, county or City of Chicago authorities with respect to how municipalities are expected to handle this unanticipated situation, according to Village officials.
Village officials have been in close communication with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security to gain a better understanding of myriad issues that have arisen since the Village was notified of the impending arrival of the migrants.
"After having spent the last 24 hours asking tough questions and getting honest answers, we are satisfied that the federal agencies tasked with performing health and safety screening on the migrants are doing their job. We have confidence in their ability to manage this situation capably," said Johnson. "While the Village has no official role in managing this situation, we will continue to stay in very close contact with these agencies to ensure that any concerns we have are addressed fully and in a timely manner."
In a robocall to village residents to inform them about the arrival of the migrants in Elk Grove Village, Mayor Johnson also expressed his disappointment in how the matter was handled.
"While the Village is now well-informed about what is taking place, I cannot tell you how disappointing it is to see the haphazard way in which this has been handled by county, state, and City of Chicago officials," Johnson said. "The Village received no advanced notice that the migrants would be arriving here. We received no information about when the bus would arrive, where the migrants would stay or whose responsibility it was to provide food or medical care. Only after we began making phone calls and asking tough questions did we get the answers we were looking for."
The mayor also reassured residents that the village was ready for the arrival of the migrants and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
"Job number one for us is ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our residents and our entire community. We will stay on top of this situation on their behalf, hold responsible agencies accountable, and manage this issue in a way that keeps our residents safe and well-informed," said Johnson.